It’s not logical, I should want to retire in Hawaii or Southern Cal, but there’s something about Michigan that gets under your skin and keeps drawing you back. Maybe it’s the promise of new life and lush growth when those crocuses first appear. Or, the comfort of the change of seasons showing that everything has its perfect place and time. The crisp chill of fall with warm cider. The first snowfall and the joy of a snow day. (The endless cold winters…the grey chunks of ice that linger for months and months…the claustrophobic low-hanging clouds…the slippery sidewalks and bruised knees from falls…) Recently, both Thom and I have been drawn to the Leelanau area known for good food, wine, art and culture. (Traverse City is ranked #1 in the nation for foodies!)
I had been in Michigan for a week (more on that later) while Thom did the West Coast swing to his parents in Oregon and then on to Stanford University to give a talk. The Friday before Memorial day I picked Thom up from the airport and we drove straight up to Glen Arbor. There’s nothing like spring in Michigan — the tulips, the flowering trees, the baby animals. We enjoyed them all on the 3.5 hour drive up to the Sylvan Inn B&B. We had a fantastic dinner at Blu, watching the sunset over a placid Lake Michigan. Kevin came up the next day and joined us and we had a weekend of good food, hikes, exploration and kayaking on the Platte River. All we need is for real estate prices to drop another 30% in Leelanau county, and raise 50% in Ingham county, and we’re all set to retire.
During the week Thom was on the west coast I was privileged to stay in my dear friend Bridget’s home, where by day she fights infectious diseases across the state and by night (and weekends) she runs Happy Goat Lucky Ewe farm. I love the sounds of her farm — I’m put to bed with the croaking peepers singing their lullaby. In the morning I awake to the alarm of baby sheep and goats baa-ing. The lush greeness makes you want to run and frolic a la Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music (the hills…er, pastures are alive…and all that).
The only downside is the terrifying troll that lurks on her property. Here is Czar, the ram, posing for the next release cover of Dante’s Inferno.
Though the demon ram is penned in by a double fence, he does his best to let you know that if he were to break free he’d stomp and ram you and toss you around like a leaf on the ground.
Fortunately, the fences held and I loved staying with Bridget and her husband Joedy. It kind of made me homesick for the local-vore community in Michigan. Here in Zambia we’ve gone to people’s homes for dinner and when I ask about how a particularly delicious dish was made, the answer is, “Oh, I don’t know, you’ll have to ask Nelson, our cook.” Right before we left Zambia for the states I visited Sugarbush Organic farm just down the road from us. One of the clerks there promised there was a foodie/local-vore group in Zambia that I hadn’t tapped into yet. I’m looking forward to finding out what they’re doing now that we’re back!
p.s. It was also wonderful seeing my good friend Shelley and sharing a few meals and ice cream. Here we are on the Prom photo promenade at a local ice cream shop.